I’ve been saying for a long time that traditional mass media will soon be relegated to history. Now it looks like the next stage is coming. Over the last decade Clear Channel Communications has been snapping up radio stations and concert venues all over the country. They now have over 1200 radio stations including 4 of the 5 commercial radio stations in Ann Arbor (they tried to buy the other one a few years but were thwarted). After homogenizing American radio to the point that it became unlistenable and helping to drive people to other sources like mp3 players, they have now decided to put themselves up for sale. The company is heavily in debt and bleeding listeners. They’re apparently negotiating a leveraged buyout, possibly with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the company that years ago bought RJR Nabisco and then proceeded to break up the company and sell off the pieces. With any luck they’ll close the deal quickly and sell it all off. The sooner all the big media companies either split up or die the better. Media is being democratized through blogs and podcasts and companies like Clear Channel are needed or desirable.